Lake Bell: I changed my stance on marriage while writing "I Do … Until I Don't"

Ed Helms and Lake Bell star in "I Do ... Until I Don't."

The Film Arcade

"I Do … Until I Don't" is very personal for Lake Bell, who wrote, directed and produced the romantic comedy.

Bell started working on the screenplay nine years ago. The plot revolves around three couples who are taking part in a documentary about marriage, directed by an eccentric and cynical filmmaker who believes marriage should be a renewable seven-year contract. Bell stars as Alice, a woman who runs a blinds store with her husband, Noah, played by Ed Helms, in Vero Beach, Florida, where Bell spent part of her childhood.

Bell told CBS News when she started writing the film, she had a "therapeutic need" to investigate the institution of marriage.

"I really felt that marriage was archaic," she said. "I did share the ideology and theories that the documentarian, Vivian, depicted in the movie. I was sort of more of a Vivian to start with, and during the writing of this film I met my husband, Scott Campbell, so it was kind of a beautiful lesson and continues to be."

Bell said her cynicism of marriage stems from the fact that she was one and a half when her parents divorced.

"I was part of a pretty difficult divorce and I grew up with other family members and friends who were all kind of getting divorced, so it just felt like a doomed concept, and when I was starting to write the movie, I believed 'if it ain't broke, why fix it?'" she said. "So if you're with someone you love, why not just be with them, which is the Fanny and Xander ideology. Every character in this movie does feel deeply personal in my unpacking of the subject matter." Fanny and Xander, played by Amber Heard and Wyatt Cenac, respectively, play a carefree hippie couple in an open relationship.

iduid-3.jpg

Wyatt Cenac and Amber Heard play a couple in an open relationship in "I Do ... Until I Don't."

The Film Arcade

But Bell said in the process of the film, she started to change her mind about marriage.

"I fell madly in love with my husband and even though he's covered head to toe in tattoos, he's more traditional -- he's from the south -- and I remember being really afraid to take on this thing that I had never really understood," she explained. "I did tell him, 'Well, I am afraid, but I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be afraid with.'"

Bell and Campbell have been married for four years and together for seven, and she said what she appreciates about marriage is how much she has evolved.

"It's harder to grow if you're living in a single vortex, where no one is calling you out on your [expletive] and when the going gets tough, you don't fail, but when you're in a committed relationship, you're constantly looking in the mirror and at your flaws by way of your partner and vice versa," said Bell. "And we love therapy. You don't have to be a raging lunatic to go to therapy to improve. It's just self-love, and taking care of thyself is what really inspires you to take care of each other."

Bell said that to write the script, she envisioned herself as each character, but she was especially excited to play Alice.

"It's really fun to take on characters who are not an obvious casting choice for me," she said. "Alice sort of apologizes for the space she takes up in the world and she's extremely low-status and she's repressed and that's just something I haven't gotten to do in my career."

Bell admitted she has an agenda in making this film.

"It has a happy ending and it's built that way and I always wanted it that way," she said. "I really wanted this story and investigation to end with hope, because I think ultimately as a previous unromantic, I was hoping deep down to be proven wrong."

  • Andrea Park On Twitter»

    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com